With large numbers of accounting firms jumping into litigation support and forensic accounting, an expert on expert witnesses warns that they need to take care to maintain their independence.

"Accountants need to achieve a balance between plaintiff and defense cases in order to protect their credibility in the litigation support market," says Margaret Grisdela, president and founder of Legal Expert Connections, an expert witness marketing practice.

"It's also important to develop a broad client list in order to avoid conflicts that can emerge when working with only a few law firms," Grisdela added.

Not that finding a broad range of cases and law firms should be difficult: "State courts alone processed over 96 million new court cases in 2002" alone, Grisdela pointed out.

Boca Raton-based Legal Expert Connections is currently creating a niche for national, regional and local accounting firms within its practice, offering to help them generate a steady stream of legal prospects. "Few CPAs, even those with a dedicated marketing department, have time to devote to the intense Web-based research that is required to unearth background information on law firms and current cases that may need specialized expert witnesses."

LEC's marketing services include the development of customized lead databases, targeted direct mail, print advertising, online promotions and sales support.

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